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Date: 01 September, 2006
George Luke reviews the music at this year’s Greenbelt.
You won’t find the name “Tom” listed amongst Greenbelt’s executive or production staff. But everybody’s MySpace friend seems to have become the festival’s unofficial band booker – especially where new bands are concerned.
With just about everyone plugging Myspace pages, Tom’s presence loomed large over Greenbelt. It wasn’t just the newcomers doing it, either. Daniel Bedingfield gave his sister’s Myspace page a plug during his set, and in the middle of one song, Kevin Max read out the URL to another – although one suspects he wasn’t being completely serious.
The lead singer of NlighteN went one better during their spot on Stage 2 on Saturday afternoon. “Everybody give a cheer for MySpace!” he exhorted the audience. The way NlighteN spell their name might lead some to think they were another tehno-dance outfit. In fact, they’re an indie rock band heavily influenced by U2 and Coldplay – a bit too much so for their own good, it sounded at times.
The Performance Café also hosted a few new acts, amongst them Bridget Amofah (formerly of Oi Va Voi), who played a short set there on Saturday afternoon. Bridget’s light, jazzy sound and lyrics full of whimsy are bound to draw comparisons to Corinne Bailey Rae. And who knows – maybe next year, there’ll be a “Bridget Amofah played here” blue plaque in front of the Performance Café.
The Steels played Stage 2 on Monday afternoon – an upbeat rock worship band overflowing with youthful energy. It was a highly enjoyable set, but when the lead singer asked the crowd, “Any of you guys got the Internet?” you just knew what was coming next. Sure enough: another plug for a MySpace page.
Later on that afternoon, Stop! Thief! played Stage 2. This was a special gig in more ways than one; as well as being the band’s first Greenbelt appearance; it was also the first time the band’s current lineup had actually met! It also marked the return to Greenbelt of bassist Steve Clarke, whose last Greenbelt appearance was on Mainstage in 2000 when he was in the Dum Dums.
Like Take That and Wham! before them, Stop! Thief! may have named themselves after an expression you only find in copies of the Beano from the 70s. Unlike those two bands, this is not a pretty boy band playing bubblegum pop – certainly not with songs like “Did I Shave My Legs For This”!
Their influences include Johnny Cash, and you could certainly hear shades of country in their sound. “We didn’t bring any promo stuff with us,” the lead singer told the crowd. “That makes us underground…or maybe just lazy.” They were also the only band not to mention a MySpace page whilst onstage…or so I thought, until I tried to log on to the web address they gave us and found myself redirected to a MySpace page!
Several other new acts made their Greenbelt debuts this year, including My Spoon, LZ7, Jessi Markee and Lovers Electric. There isn’t enough space here to go into detail about what their shows were like, but you know where you can find them…